Airline services are badly battered as 800-odd pilots of Air India went on strike, which left hundreds of passengers in lurch. The peak season for travel coupled with limited seats has forced the flyers to fork out more bucks for getting tickets. Repeating the past, the pilots too selected the peak season to launch their stir, creating more chaos and dismay, for mounting pressure on management for their demand of pay hike and better perks. These pilots were employees of the erstwhile Indian Airlines, that was merged with Air India later. The pilots have been demanding remuneration package at par with their counterparts of Air India. The demand is not unfair but the selection of timing for going on strike is deplorable, while a committee under the stewardship of a former justice is studying the grievances of the pilots. The committee will submit its report within three months, but the irony is that the pilots could not wait for at least three months. By an estimate they earn 2-3 lakh per month which is not less that they could not defer the stir to another three months when the findings of the committee would come. It is fine, they are not supposed to work underpaid in this money-oriented era, but it is equally important that they should not conduct like they have failed to make both their ends meet in the wake of low salary.

In a bid to justify their agitation, the union of striking pilots shot off a letter to the Prime Minister stating about the huge mismanagement being rampant in the Air India. According to the union, if the government overhauls the management, Air India will take off efficiently as per its proven past. It will be better for the members of the union to relook their manner of ceasing work and disrupting air services. In a sense they are blackmailing the government by launching the stir. They should think over the decision of the Delhi High Court that pilots should eschew any sort of agitation and immediately come back to the work. It is significant that the high court has lambasted the management, so the pilots should shun the stir which causes huge troubles for the flyers. The strike has not left passengers stranded rather it has badly hit the economy as well, because smooth and flawless aviation service gives fillip to industry and trade. Undoubtedly, the pilots are not accountable for the losses incurred by the Air India, but they must know that in current situation their demand is unlikely to be addressed. Air India is jet-lagging with loss and mismanagement, so it would be wise for the government to mull over its privatization.